Attorney General of India

Attorney General of India

Constitutional of Attorney General

Article 76

  1. The President shall appoint a person who is qualified to be appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court to be Attorney-General for India.
  2. It shall be the duty of the Attorney-General to give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may from time to time be referred or assigned to him by the President, and to discharge the functions conferred on him by or under this Constitution or any other law for the time being in force.
  3. In the performance of his duties the Attorney General shall have right of audience in all courts in the territory of India.
  4. The Attorney-General shall hold office during the pleasure of the President, and shall receive such remuneration as the President may determine.

Article 88

  • Every Minister and the Attorney-General of India shall have the right to speak in, and otherwise to take part in the proceedings of, either House, any joint sitting of the Houses, and any committee of Parliament of which he may be named a member, but shall not by virtue of this article be entitled to vote.

APPOINTMENT AND TERM

  • The Attorney General (AG) is appointed by the president. He must be a person who is qualified to be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court.
  • In other words, he must be a citizen of India and he must have been a judge of some high court for five years or an advocate of some high court for ten years or an eminent jurist, in the opinion of the president.
  • The term of office of the AG is not fixed by the Constitution. Further, the Constitution does not contain the procedure and grounds for his removal.
  • He holds office during the pleasure of the president. This means that he may be removed by the president at any time. He may also quit his office by submitting his resignation to the president.
  • Conventionally, he resigns when the government (council of ministers) resigns or is replaced, as he is appointed on its advice.
  • The remuneration of the AG is not fixed by the Constitution. He receives such remuneration as the president may determine.

DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS

As the chief law officer of the Government of India, the duties of the AG include the following:

  1. To give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, which are referred to him by the president.
  2. To perform such other duties of a legal character that are assigned to him by the president.
  3. To discharge the functions conferred on him by the Constitution or any other law.

The president has assigned the following duties to the AG:

  1. To appear on behalf of the Government of India in all cases in the Supreme Court in which the Government of India is concerned.
  2. To represent the Government of India in any reference made by the president to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution.
  3. To appear (when required by the Government of India) in any high court in any case in which the Government of India is concerned.

RIGHTS AND LIMITATIONS

  • In the performance of his official duties, the Attorney General has the right of audience in all courts in the territory of India.
  • Further, he has the right to speak and to take part in the proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament or their joint sitting and any committee of the Parliament of which he may be named a member, but without a right to vote.
  • He enjoys all the privileges and immunities that are available to a member of Parliament.
  • Following limitations are placed on the Attorney General in order to avoid any complication and conflict of duty:
  1. He should not advise or hold a brief against the Government of India.
  2. He should not advise or hold a brief in cases in which he is called upon to advise or appear for the Government of India.
  3. He should not defend accused persons in criminal prosecutions without the permission of the Government of India.
  4. He should not accept appointment as a director in any company or corporation without the permission of the Government of India.

However, the Attorney General is not a full-time counsel for the Government. He does not fall in the category of government servants. Further, he is not debarred from private legal practice.

The Attorneys General for India since independence are listed below

Attorney General Term Incumbent Prime Minister
M. C. Setalvad 28 January 1950 – 1 March 1963 Jawaharlal Nehru
C. K. Daphtary 2 March 1963 – 30 October 1968 Jawaharlal Nehru; Lal Bahadur Shastri
Niren De 1 November 1968 – 31 March 1977 Indira Gandhi
S. V. Gupte 1 April 1977 – 8 August 1979 Morarji Desai
L. N. Sinha 9 August 1979 – 8 August 1983 Indira Gandhi
K. Parasaran 9 August 1983 – 8 December 1989 Indira Gandhi; Rajiv Gandhi
Soli Sorabjee 9 December 1989 – 2 December 1990 V. P. Singh; Chandra Shekhar
G. Ramaswamy 3 December 1990 – 23 November 1992 Chandra Shekhar; P. V. Narasimha Rao
Milon K. Banerji 21 November 1992 – 8 July 1996 P. V. Narasimha Rao
Ashok Desai 9 July 1996 – 6 April 1998 H. D. Devegowda; Inder Kumar Gujral
Soli Sorabjee 7 April 1998 – 4 June 2004 Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Milon K. Banerji 5 June 2004 – 7 June 2009 Manmohan Singh
Goolam Essaji Vahanvati 8 June 2009 – 11 June 2014 Manmohan Singh
Mukul Rohatgi 19 June 2014 – 18 June 2017 [14] Narendra Modi
K. K. Venugopal 1 July 2017 – Narendra Modi

 

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